As basketball fans collectively celebrate another thwarted Duke March Madness run and congratulate Coach K on his much-deserved retirement, it goes without saying that last night’s instant classic between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels would go on to yield some astounding viewing numbers.
The UNC-Duke barnburner that featured 18 lead changes and 12 ties showed out to produce the most-viewed NCAA Men’s Final Four telecast on any network since 2017. This comes as little surprise since last night’s meeting marked the first time the two legendary men’s basketball programs faced off in the history of the NCAA tournament.
The unprecedented rivalry match delivered an average of 16.3 million viewers (based on total audience delivery), which, by projection, would mark it as the second highest viewed college basketball telecast in the history of cable television once out-of-home viewership is included. By recent trend analysis, out-of-home viewership has lifted more than 10% of the final viewership totals.
The other Final Four men’s basketball game between Kansas and Villanova delivered an average of 10.3 million viewers (based on total audience delivery.) Put together, last night’s semi-final games generated 13.5 million viewers, a 9% viewership increase from last year’s March Madness tourney.
NCAA March Madness Live also notched some viewing milestones last night. The program produced the largest audience and most minutes consumed for any single game in MML history, featuring 1.4 million concurrent streams during the UNC-Duke match. This year’s March Madness has already generated the most live uniques for any full tournament in March Madness Live history.
Official NCAA Men’s March Madness social handles generated record engagement for Final Four content, a +36% increase vs. the previous Final Four all-time high. For the tournament to date, social engagements have seen a +63% lift compared to last year’s previous record.
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